Rich's Games of the Week:
I thought while everyone is watching scoreboards and games and waiting to put together their rankings for next week I would chime in and list what I consider to be the games of the week and other games to watch out for. This will only include games scheduled between Wednesday and Sunday, but there are a lot of big games coming up this week!!! (Records accurate through Tuesday, 1/5/2010 and rankings posted are from the current AP poll rather than the coaches poll)
Cornell (11-2) at #1 Kansas (13-0)
Should be an easy game for Kansas, but Cornell is 34th in RPI and has wins @Alabama, @UMASS, @Davidson, @St. John's and @La Salle so at least Kansas will be playing what seems to be a quality team.
Wichita St. (13-2) at Missouri St. (12-2)
Northern Iowa (who also has an interesting match @ Southern Illinois this day) appears to be in the driver's seat in the MVC, but I still wouldn't mind checking out this game between schools in bordering states that don't like one another... oh and it will put one of them just behind NIU for 2nd in the MVC.
#17 Wisconsin (12-2) at #10 Michigan St. (11-3)
Both of these teams will be looking to prove themselves to the naysayers that both teams have fluttering about them. With Evan Turner gone and Ohio St. seeming to be out of the picture, this looks to be a battle to see who might be able to challenge Purdue in the Big 10! Michigan St. may have the advantage playing at home, but Wisconsin has looked very good and may (show they are an elite team in the B10.
Charlotte (10-3) at #16 Tennessee (10-2)
A decent A-10 school, Charlotte (who had a decisive 22 pt victory at Louisville), travels to Tennessee for what will be Tenn's 1st game without 4 scholarship players in the wake of illegal gun charges. We'll get an indication of what Tenn has left to work with from this game.
#12 Georgetown (11-1) at Marquette (9-5)
Marquette fans had their hearts torn apart in back to back nail biting losses to Top 10 ranked teams West Virginia and Villanova (1 and 2 pts respectively) Will they still be able to build a case for the tournament? A marquee win against Georgetown sure would help their cause.
UNLV (12-2) at #25 Brigham Young (14-1)
Big time match-up in the Mountain West to kick off conference play. These 2 teams along with New Mexico figure to be the 3 teams that will fight it out for the conference title and UNLV, who had previously been ranked, would love a chance to start their conference schedule with a big win on teh road!
1/7/2010 - No Key Games
1/8/2010 - No Key Games
(Although if you can't get enough hoops, go ahead and check out the Pac 10 match-ups Washington St. at Arizona and Washington at Arizona St. The Pac 10 may be in a "down" year, but you can still expect some quality basketball out of these schools.)
#13 UCONN (10-3) at #12 Georgetown (11-1)
A big game in the brutal conference that is the Big East! These are 2 of what some say could be 10 teams that may be tournament worthy. Always good to check out a big match-up in the Big East and UCONN will be put to the test traveling to Georgetown in a game featuring 2 teams currently ranked in the top 15.
#5 Duke (12-1) at #20 Georgia Tech (11-3)
While I'm in a group that considers GT's current ranking to be too high, I can not deny that having Duke come to down will be one of many big ACC contests to come in the coming weeks of conference play. GT will get a chance to prove themselves to me and other doubters on their home court when they play Duke Saturday.
#11 Kansas St. (13-1) at Missouri (11-3)
Another border war game between teams from the Sunflower and Show Me states. K-State has been gaining momentum in the polls, but will have to bring their A-game when visiting MU in each schools 1st game on the conference schedule in what looks like a very good Big 12 this season.
Mississippi St. (12-3) at #14 Mississippi (12-2)
In state rivals will clash here with a lot of bragging rights on the line. Miss St was ranked in the preseason poll but it has been Ole Miss that has stole most of the attention in that state thus far. It will be a quality win for whichever team wins this slugfest, and could put Miss St back in the polls if they pull of an "upset" on the road.
#4 Purdue (14-0) at #17 Wisconsin (12-2)
A 2nd huge game for Wisconsin this week as they host the Big 10's front-runner Purdue. These 2 teams have already beat West Virginia and Duke, so needless to say it will feature 2 teams capable of beating just about anyone on a good day!
UNLV (12-2) at #15 New Mexico (14-1)
It jus doesn't get any easier for UNLV who will have to follow-up their trip to BYU with a trip to another ranked 14-1 team from the MWC, New Mexico. NM will be looking to notch another quality win and UNLV, who was one of favorites to win the MWC, might just be looking not to start off conference play 0-2 by this point.
Wake Forest (11-2) at Miami (Fla) (14-1)
Both of these teams want to be the next team from the ACC to be ranked. They are both receiving some votes in the AP poll, ranked 31 and 36 respectively. Most people are quick to point out that Miami hasn't beaten anyone of value (including myself), but beating a Wake Forest team that beat NC State in the conference kick-off and also has wins against a good Richmond team, a decent Xavier team, and what I consider to be a great Gonzaga team would certainly count as a quality win and possibly get them the nod.
#1 Kansas (13-0) at #16 Tennessee (10-2)
KU gets a ranked team on the road, but this game is clearly tainted by the suspensions imposed on 4 Tennessee players. Kansas should be able to take advantage of Tenn's short-comings and reaffirm their their #1 ranking, while Tennessee will try to make the most of playing this game at home and show that they can remain competative dispite the challenges they've now been hit with.
#21 Temple (11-3) at Rhode Island (12-1)
#3 and #5 in the CBSsports RPI, this high profile A-10 matchup will give Temple a chance to gain some ground in the poll but could also give Rhode Island a chance to move even closer to cracking the Top 25 (currently 32nd in the AP). This game will also give people a chance to check out the quality basketball being playing in the A-10 in general.
Virginia Tech (12-1) at #9 North Carolina (11-4)
UNC will look to bounce back after their loss to College of Charleston, at home against a VT team that is starting to get a little bit of buzz themselves. Both teams will be playing their 1st ACC game and UNC can ill afford another loss and an 0-1 start in ACC play.
Other games worthy of a recap/box score read this week:
(1/6) Duke at Iowa St., Memphis at Syracuse, Seton Hall at UCONN, Northern Iowa at Southern Illinois, (1/9) Florida at Vanderbilt, St. John's at Louisville, Marquette at Villanova, Ohio St. at Minnesota, Cincinnati at Seton Hall, Oklahoma at Baylor, West Virginia at Notre Dame, Texas Tech at Oklahoma St., BYU at UTEP, USC at California, (1/10) Northwestern at Michigan, Washington St. at Arizona St., Washington at Arizona